Stop Blaming YELP!

November 22, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Is Your Business Reputation Suffering Because You Don’t Get this One Element of a Stellar Reputation?

Let’s make this clear right now: I won’t be telling you things you don’t already know; I’m going to be telling you some things you don’t realize.

A while back I read an article on Screenwerk about business owner resentment for the local review hosting website Yelp. A lot of business owners rely on local reviews for their reputation and Yelp is embroiled in a scandalous claim that its review filters might be skewing reviews towards the unfavourable or negative ones more than the positive ones. I understand the frustration – I’ve been an entrepreneur myself for decades now. The resentment, however, is misdirected.

Here’s one of the realizations I was talking about: Yelp doesn’t help – not with your reputation. The only thing Yelp does is host reviews. The problem is not about Yelp making positive reviews more “visible” or conspicuous over negative ones. The problem is that you think it needs to.

Yelp is just a platform. Even if they manually tweak filters to “help” you out, you’ll still get bad reviews if you don’t fix the real problem. Yelp doesn’t need to do much of anything. You do.

You need to fix the bad reviews you’re getting.

I’m not absolving Yelp or other review sites of blame. In fact, in an article about one of Yelp’s nightmare-inducing hard sell attempts, I aired my own opinion in on the matter with a quick comment:

“Most local business owners are busy putting out fires all day and do not understand the ever evolving world of marketing or marketing on the internet. This makes them vulnerable to slick salesmen who promise the world for $395.00 per month. its guys like this that give our industry of servicing local businesses a bad name!”

Indeed, Yelp has its fair share of doomsayers, like Peter Shankman. Peter is convinced that Yelp’s model is unviable because of its reliance on unverified or untrusted reviews, and because of this, Yelp’s days are numbered. But even if and when Yelp and company fix their filters or they are simply phased out by the industry, that doesn’t mean everything will be rainbows and butterflies for business owners.

Here’s the second realization we’ll discuss today: as a business owner, you know you need good customer service, but you don’t know what that’s actually all about. You don’t know about service protocols, consumer laws, service key performance indicators, customer satisfaction metrics, and service level agreements.

And it’s not your fault.

As a business owner, your concern is to deliver and develop your core competence. Understandably so, small business entrepreneurs usually don’t count customer service as one of their core competencies. Just to give you a glimpse of the industry that is customer service, let’s look at a quick example: contact centers.

Whenever you call up a brand for some customer service or technical support, your call is routed to their contact or call centers. Most call centers are outsourced these days, but they retained their dedication to customer service. So much so that each call received typically has:

  • A certain call duration goal – so the support rep can answer more calls
  • A certain hold duration limit – so the customer isn’t annoyed by being put on hold a lot
  • A certain due process or call flow – so the issue is addressed in compliance with service requirements, and all problems are resolved quickly

That’s just three of the things call centers keep in mind for each and every call. They also try to ensure first call resolution (the issue raised by customers are resolved with just one call), proper escalation procedures (if the issue needs to be addressed by superiors or different departments), proper wording and phrasing (to always be polite and avoid making the situation worse), and so much more.

These establishments truly understand that customer service is a big deal. They don’t just know it either. They measure it. They ensure it. They’re trained for it.

You aren’t. And that’s why, even if Yelp takes your side every day, you’ll still get bad reviews. Great reputations are built, not bought. If you want a genuine stellar business reputation, you need to invest in some sort of customer service training or course that ensures you can deliver not just your product, but the premium customer service and support that your consumers are expecting by default.

I’ve spent years helping other small businesses improve their reputations and I found that customer service training is one of the most important foundations to achieving this goal. When I developed Smart Marketing Wizard’s core offerings, I knew that customer service training for both the entrepreneur and the employees should be on my list. After all, what good is a first page Google listing if the listing shows bad reviews? Gone are the days of promising local businesses first page Google ranking for a set price. Reputations should come first.

So my question for businesses that want those five golden stars each and every time is: do they really know what it takes to deliver exceptional service consistently? Have their staff been trained properly in customer experience and satisfaction and understand what is expected of them?

Before you spend your money on SEO, newspaper ads, radio, direct mail, or something else, get your reputation in order. If you have a good product or service and take really good care of your customers, they will return to buy again and will refer others. And that’s the best sort of “visibility” you can ask for.

Let me show you how what a strong business reputation can do. Download our FREE PDF guide: “The Definitive Guide to Getting Great Reviews”. Take 15 minutes to read it, and you’ll realize what you really already knew from the start.

Cassandra Segoviano AKA “The Fixer”


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Category: Marketing, Online Reviews

Cassandra Maria Segoviano

Cassandra Maria Segoviano()


Prolific writer, author, speaker and trained direct response copywriter and trainer. Experienced in online marketing, offline marketing and marketing to the affluent professional.  Strategist at Alan Pace & Company and Trainer for The Smart Marketing Wizard.

Cassandra has worked for noted clients including former President Bill Clinton; Houston megastars, Beyonce and Kelly Roland; the late Governor of  Texas, Ann Richards; New York Giants running-back, Super Bowl champ and two time pro-bowler, Rodney Hampton; former U.S. Drug Czar and Houston Mayor, Lee P. Brown; current Houston Mayor, Anise Parker; former Congressman, Ken Bentsen; and current Congresswoman, Sheila Jackson Lee.  Invited by Texas Governor, Rick Perry to address her peers in Austin.


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